I’ve spent quite a bit of time visiting Japan over the past year (and a half), but understand that there is so very much more to see. I’ve reached out to some of my awesome blogger pals to help me compile a list of amazing places to visit in Japan. Thank you to everyone for contributing to my first collaborative post – hopefully this will be the first of many ^^
Ginkakuji, Kyoto (The Silver Pavilion) via Duke Stewart
Ginkakuji is a history nerd and art aficionado haven but put simply, the Silver Pavilion is beautiful and not to miss when visiting Kyoto. Its winding paths lead to picturesque views along the way and at times, a feeling that you’re the only one there. Even though there’s no silver on the building, get there early and beat the crowds because they come throughout the year to witness this wonderful piece of Kyoto’s cultural history. From the Ginkakuji, you can also get started on Kyoto’s famed Philosopher’s Walk.
Read more about Duke Stewart’s time at Ginkakuji here!
Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto (The Golden Pavilion) via The Neverending Wanderlust
It has been a little over a year since I visited Kyoto, but I recall it as one of the best long-weekends I’ve ever had. Kyoto is absolutely stunning and Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion) is an absolute must-see when you visit. On our last day in the city, we arrived at the pavilion around 9:20 and were thankful that we got there early-it was already quite busy! It was one of the most memorable sights I’ve ever seen – simply stunning… Though it didn’t take us long to walk the grounds, it’s easy to see why it is at the top of all must-do lists in Kyoto.
Read more about my visit here!
Shitenno-ji temple, Osaka via The Toronto Seoulcialite
Shitenno-ji temple is one of those places you might overlook if you’re just spending the day in Osaka. I live in Korea and have seen my fair share of temples here, in China, and in Thailand. This Japanese Temple was one of the most serene I’ve had the good luck to visit. To walk around the immaculately groomed temple grounds is free, but to get into the buildings is approximately $3. I found the interpretations of the Buddha to be unlike anything I’ve seen thus far. I wish I had had a chance to take photos, but none are allowed inside the places of worship. The subway system in Osaka is awesome, but because there are so many lines it can take an eternity to get around. Taxis aren’t cheap either, but if you’re looking for something a little different once you’ve conquered Osaka Castle, I would recommend Shitenno-ji (temple). Take the subway to JR Tennoji station, then hop into a cab to get to your destination.
Read more about The Toronto Seoulcialite’s time at the Shitenno-ji temple here!
Yuigahama Beach, Kamakura via Duke Stewart
Not far from Kamakura’s wonderful Daibutsu, Yuigahama Beach is a picturesque and wide patch of sand sitting on the mouth of Sagami Bay. Its windy conditions are perfect for surfers and kite enthusiasts and the relative peace compared to the nearby cities of Yokohama and Tokyo are what make this place special for me. There’s also the tidbit that the founder of Nichiren Buddhism was nearly executed on this beach. Before his escape, the beach was better-known as a sacred ground for Minamoto shoguns who would seek the waters for cleansing before visiting faraway shrines.
Read more about Duke Stewart’s time at Yuigahama Beach here!
Fukuoka via Seanoverseas
During my two days in Fukuoka, Japan there were many sites that I fell in love with, but one that stands out is Kushida Shrine. Tourists and locals of all ages flock to this gem, whether it’s for religious purposes, a cultural experience, or just a great photo op. You can pet the copper cow for good luck, buy blessings for 50 Yen, write your wishes on a wooden tablet, ring a bell, or simply bow in prayer. I recommend this place for its beauty, from the giant lantern at the entrance to the colorful saki barrels to the Red Torii Gates. If nothing else in this modern city makes you feel like you’ve entered another world or traveled back in time, I’m sure this place will.
Read more from Seanoverseas here!
Mt. Aso and Beppu Hot Springs via Alla Ponomareva
Take a weekend trip getaway from Fukuoka to visit the city of Beppu, in the Oita Prefecture. The Onsen there are divided into eight hot spring areas and are known as the Hells of Beppu. Some of the more photogenic hells include the blood pond hell (Chinoike Jigoku) and sea hell (Umi Jigoku), featured here. While the eight hells of Beppu are for viewing pleasure only (thankfully, with their boiling mud, milky or crocodile-infested waters), the city is full of public bath houses for locals and tourists alike.
Visit the largest active volcanoes in Japan and one of the largest in the world – Mt. Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture. Located in Aso Kuju National Park, this volcano will impress you with it’s large caldera and an incredibly strong smell. Bring a mask or a scarf and definitely a camera!
Read from Alla Ponomareva here!
Sushi at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market via Travel Stained
At Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, a sushi breakfast at one of the restaurants in the wholesale area is a rite of passage for early morning visitors. And the most coveted seats of all are at humble little Sushi-Dai.
With just 12 counter places available, we waited 3 torturous hours for our chance to brave the omakase or “trust the chef” course. But as piece after piece of the freshest fatty tuna, surf clam, salmon and mackerel was placed directly on the counter in front of us, we quickly forgot the long delay. The sushi was so exquisite (and affordable), that it scarcely touched the counter in front of us, before it was swept up and devoured. Worth it? Absolutely.
Himeji Castle, Hyogo Prefecture via Chasing KM
Perched majestically on top of a hill, it becomes visible soon after exiting the train station. Himeji Castle is also known as the White Heron as it resembles a big white bird ready to take flight. It is one of the oldest surviving castles from the 1700’s. The original east and west wooden supporting pillars still run all the way from the ground floor to the top of the keep!! The stairs and floors are polished by thousands of feet. It’s a pricey attraction compared to others in Japan, but our advice: pay the money; it’s worth it!
Read more about Chasing KM’s time at Himeji Castle here!
Miyajima Island via The Soul Seeker
Since moving to Japan last year, I have visited plenty of the usual cities, but none can compare to the Island of Miyajima. Only a half hour drive from Iwakuni, I can’t believe I waited nine months after we moved here to visit this beautiful place!
This island is my favorite place in Japan, as it has a way of transporting you to the past. Vehicles are limited and only a few are allowed to bring their own transportation. The buildings are all traditional Japanese architecture and the temples are gorgeous! Definitely, a must for someone who wants to skip the big cities of Japan and experience the yesteryear of this country.
Tokyo Disney Sea via Bobo and Chichi
A visit to Tokyo means you can get to see one of the most unique Disney parks in the world! Tokyo DisneySea is famous for it’s different rides not available in the other parks including a dark and mysterious ride called Journey to the Center of the Earth. Even old favorites like Tower of Terror and Indiana Jones are different in Tokyo. We loved themed areas for The Little Mermaid and Aladdin the best. Both of these movies are some of my childhood favorites and it was an incredible experience to feel like I was under the sea with Ariel or in Agrabah with Aladdin!
Read more about Bobo and Chichi’s time at Disney Sea here!
Thanks again to everyone who has participated! Please check out their work and show them some love ^^